Powerful Data and Information Tech to Secure Earth Rights for All

Internal Colonialism, Land Maps and Land Value Taxation


A functional democracy needs truth in order to fulfill the promises of a just and fair society. A fundamental truth necessary to understand how to reverse the play of power that has led us to gross wealth inequality and the near demise of democracy is to know who owns what land where (and the assessed value) in our neighborhoods, towns and cities. Transparent and detailed digital land maps give us this important information, tell us who pays what property taxes, and can model tax reform approaches that will keep our wealth in our communities.  

In the video titled Internal Colonialism, Land Maps and Land Value Taxation Joshua Vincent, Director of the Center for the Study of Economics, presents land value maps of the City of Baltimore to an executive meeting of the International Union for Land Value Taxation attended by people from Ireland, UK, Germany, India, the Philippines, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Canada, Australia and the US. The presentation impressed everyone with the power and potential of  information technology to build movements for what I call “earth rights democracy” – a new form of democracy based on the equal right by birth to the earth’s land and natural resources. Land mapping gives exact and specific details of how land rent – the unearned income from land – currently flows out of low-income and impoverished areas where much of the land is owned by absentees and speculators and into the pockets of those who live in high income areas and to private corporations.  

The land value maps show in precise and stark detail the workings of a predatory economic system that can be viewed as “internal colonialism” and understood as a root cause of gross wealth inequality. The information technology of land value mapping also easily enables us to determine what areas and which people would pay more or less when the tax base is shifted OFF OF needed production – housing and other buildings, wage incomes and small businesses -and ONTO the wealth extracting and privileged absentees and speculators.

We can recover democracy and create a healthy society of fair wealth distribution by using the information of land value maps to build movements for earth rights democracy right where we live. As we restore our neighborhoods, towns and cities with the shift to land value taxation, which stops the predation and exploitation and keeps the wealth in our communities, we can work on regional and even global levels to claim the commons rent of natural resources, water, the oceans, the electromagnetic spectrum and the overall environment in order to build a world that works for everyone based on the perennial truth that The Earth Belongs to Everyone.

Here is the link to Internal Colonialism, Land Maps and Land Value Taxation:

Join our movements for land value taxation at Common Ground USA https://commonground-usa.net

International Union for Land Value Taxation https://theiu.org

For Baltimore Thrive land value tax project coordinator, Vanessa Beck: BaltimoreThriveVanessa@gmail.com.

Strong Towns https://www.strongtowns.org

The mayor of Detroit and the governor of Michigan are advocates for shifting public finance to land value taxation. There are several articles you can find on the internet about Detroit’s movement for land value taxation.

From the program chat:

 Joshua Vincent : https://public.tableau.com/authoring/BaltimoreAugust2022/Neighborhoods#2

Emily Sims | Prosper Australia : So sorry everyone, I am about to turn into a pumpkin. Great to check in with IU. Goodnight.

Rob Wheeler (US) : So this is pretty clear, absentee ownership ought to either be addressed by either LVCT or made illegal. By the way this is really an excellent presentation that millions of people ought to see.

Rob Wheeler : This info shows why LVC&T is an essential means for helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which the US under the Obama Admin agreed to in 2015 along with all of the other 192 natl governments

Audu Liberty Oseni (MAWA Foundation Nigeria) : You keep saying absentism, what do you mean by that

Audu Liberty Oseni : What do you mean by absentee properties

Rob Wheeler : Next week the French government is holding a New Global Financing Pact summit with very high level participation as a part of the launch of an on-going campaign to support and finance Just Social Development and achievement of the SDGs, etc. It would be good to get a presentation like this included as a part of that process that is just now beginning to be developed. See:  https://focus2030.org/Summit-for-a-New-Global-Financing-Pact-towards-more-commitments-to-meet-the.

Edward Dodson : Josh quickly made a very astute observation. Lower income people who lease their home from someone else are, in effect,  urban sharecroppers. They share a high proportion of their earnings in return for a poorly maintained place to live. Large numbers of these urban people were a generation or two ago sharecroppers or tenant farmers working the land.

Rob Wheeler : One of their primary focuses will be on what is called New and Innovative Means of Finance. This is in some ways not new, but widespread implementation of LVT would be and it would certainly be considered as innovative, even though it was endorsed  by the UN Habitat Summits 1, 2, and 3. This is an important connection with UN processes that is not quite as direct but are just as important. The Climate Summit processes (COP28) is focusing this year+ on what they call Loss and Damages from climate change. People in he developing world are not nearly as responsible for climate change, global heating, and their consequences as those in the developed world; but are facing the brunt of the impacts, financial and otherwise, from climate disasters etc. Thus are facing increasing impacts from Loss and Damage.

Devpreet Jassal (Canada) : Thanks Joshua…….hope we succeed in our life time😊

Dirk Loehr, Trier University of Applied Sciences, UCB (Germany) : Josh: Can you tell us which methods the government is applying for the mass appraisal for the property tax in Baltimore?

Rob Wheeler : Continued from above: In developing world people are being pushed to move to marginalized land and decrepit neighborhoods in the cities that are often most at risk due to “un-natural’ disasters. Implementation of LVT could thus be quite beneficial and could be one means for helping to address the Loss and Damages that occur due to climate change and provide a means of revenue collection that will needed to rebuild after climate disasters as well as to prevent some of the worst impacts beforehand. Again the UN will be struggling to come up with good means of financing Loss and Damage funds at the Climate Summit Conference this year in November.

Funlola Famuyiwa (Nigeria) : Yes. Large scale migration to the urban fringes. LVT for resilience

Rob Wheeler : Excellent facilitation and clarification and pulling out further comments on important points from Joshua

Dirk Loehr, Trier University of Applied Sciences, UCB : Excellent presentation, very insightful – thank you, Josh!

Emer O’Siochru (Ireland) : Thanks Joshua. Great presentation. I wish we had access to similar granular ownership data in Ireland.

Carol (UK): 1% own 70% of UK land by acreage. Most big landholdings in UK are owned by families who have passed it down for hundreds of years. More recently billionaires have come into the land market because it an passed down inheritance tax free. James Dyson now owns half of Lincolnshire – a rural county.